Episode 161: The Silhouettes of Affection

Although love represents an ideal that many of us strive for in our personal, romantic and ongoing relationships, it manifests in many forms. Between various cultures, art forms and perceptions, the ways we express love are nearly infinite. But what do we make of the love we feel but do not express? This week, we welcome Sam Whipple to discuss the phenomenon of unexpressed love. How might expressions of platonic love alter our presumptions of romantic love? What might we miss in our relationships when we do not receive expressions of love from those around us?

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Episode 160: The Crossroads of Customer Service

Many of us interact with employees on a consistent, often daily basis. We may not think much of these moments, or the people with whom we're speaking, but customer service as an intersection between consumers and sellers serves to reveal some of our societal attitudes. This week, we welcome Nick Suyematsu to discuss the philosophy behind customer service. How do employees wield the ability to influence the emotions of customers? What do our expectations of thee interactions say about our attitudes when spending money? What can customer service teach us about general human interaction?

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Episode 159: The "Yes" Game

Looking at a culture where news, opinions and often daily conversations can tend towards negativity, a positive outlook can seem miraculous. When looking at performing environments, however, performers are encouraged to embrace new challenges, ideas and forms of expression. This week, Mark Ashin joins us to discuss an improv exercise casually known as The "Yes" Game. In the exercise, pairs of participants stand across from one another. One begins speaking about a source of joy or excitement and their partner simply affirms by repeatedly saying "Yes". What can we learn from the principles behind this game? Why might some of us find it difficult or uncomfortable to embrace? How can the philosophy involved help us be more enthusiastic and encouraging towards one another?

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Episode 158: "In the Future, We Will Photograph Everything..."

‘Today everything exists to end in a photograph,’ Susan Sontag wrote in her seminal 1977 book ‘On Photography.’ This was something I thought about when I recently read that Google was making its one-hundred-and-forty-nine-dollar photo-editing suite, the Google Nik Collection, free.
— Om Malik of The New Yorker on April 4, 2016
‘The definition of photography is changing, too, and becoming more of a language,’ the Brooklyn-based artist and professional photographer Joshua Allen Harris told me. ‘We’re attaching imagery to tweets or text messages, almost like a period at the end of a sentence. It’s enhancing our communication in a whole new way.’ As a result, photos are less markers of memories than they are Web-browser bookmarks for our lives...Today we think of something, and then we Google it. Photos are evolving along the same path as well.
— Om Malik of The New Yorker on April 4, 2016

With the proliferation of cameras in modern smartphones, tablets, laptops and more, digital photography has entered the cultural mainstream. Many of us reflexively take selfies during travel and pose for memorable moments with loved ones. In 2016, Om Malik of The New Yorker wrote an article entitled "In the Future, We Will Photograph Everything and Look At Nothing," examining at our photographic tendencies and how the abundance of imagery has altered our relationship to it and to our memories. How do photographs become placeholders for memory? Why do we rely so heavily on imagery to capture and enrich narrative? How might we be missing out on lived experiences because of the cultural capital placed upon pictures?

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Episode 157: Radiance, Darkness and The Atomic Bomb

Most Americans have been taught that using atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 was justified because the bombings ended the war in the Pacific, thereby averting a costly U.S. invasion of Japan. This erroneous contention finds its way into high school history texts still today. More dangerously, it shapes the thinking of government officials and military planners working in a world that still contains more than 15,000 nuclear weapons.
— Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, The L.A. Times, May 26, 2016.

As one of the most pivotal moments in history, the construction and deployment of the atomic bomb is worthy of many discussions. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese (primarily civilians) and changing the face of modern warfare and international politics forever. This week we welcome Richard Pera to explore the moment in history, what choices and factors preceded it and what we can take away from the decision in the context of the 21st century. How might this devastating power be connected to later peace? What are the ethical entanglements surrounding the issue? How does the use of nuclear weaponry reflect deeper elements of human nature?

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